I’ve been making dances since I was 15 years old. I’ve been performing professionally since I was 17. The last few years, I have certainly continued to do both; though, lately, I’ve done far less performing.
Instead, I needed to prioritize giving my time and attention to my family, making money, and protecting my health - particularly living with Lyme Disease.
As my babies have grown, I’ve danced my way back into the working world in unexpected and delightful ways. The Movement Movement has led me to combine my passion and core belief that movement is a central key to overall human health into a personal daily practice as well as a career.
I’m constantly posting videos of myself dancing to social media, and I am consistently promoting a lifestyle rich in movement and dance. Still, there is a big difference between that and professionally performing for a live audience.
The difference is in the stakes. If I don’t like a video I made, I just don’t post it. Live performance for an audience with expectations of me as performer and choreographer is much more intense and full of risks. Creating a formal production requires preparation, planning, promotion, financial investment, and faith in the success of the final product. And, unlike video, there is no delete button if I’m unsatisfied with a show.
This kind of creative and financial risk was easy to take in my 20’s, I didn’t have as much familial responsibility or any health issues. I turn 40 this year. I’m not gonna lie; retaining and nurturing the confidence to take crucial artistic and financial risks is tougher work. Putting myself back on stage is the hardest work of all. There will be sleepless nights. There will be sacrifices of family time. There will be a cold I could have avoided if I just didn’t make the dances. My joints will ache.
But, I GET to do this work. It is as much a mandate as it is a privilege. I am built to dance. And, fortunately, I have solid opportunities to perform live this season.
One is the show I’m currently making called Forgiveness - Love More Wildly. Here's the official blurb:
Forgiveness: Love More Wildly is a dance theater performance that together, with the audience, unpacks the stages of forgiveness. Forgiveness: Love More Wildly presents scenes taken from life, history, and an imagined future interwoven with original dance and music. The words of acclaimed poet, Miki Devivo thread through the production, providing a poignant, cohesive literary context. The performance features an original score by performer and Community Relations Manager, Miss Jessica Denson, and the choreographic collaboration between Artistic Director, Kelly King, and veteran company member, Erica Chamblee. Forgiveness: Love More Wildly is co-directed by frequent playmates in the theater community, Marcus Kyd (Artistic Director of Taffety Punk Theatre Company) and Kelly King.
The idea for Forgiveness came from seeing a play A Human Being Died That Night starring my now co-choreographer, Erica Chamblee. The play inspired us to make an evening of dance theatre on the topic of forgiveness. I am equal parts excited and terrified. Excited because I have a great creative team and I have full confidence in their ability to bring this project to fruition. Terrified because I’ll be performing in it.
Last week, at Contradiction Dance’s annual fundraiser, I staged the beginning of an idea - a dance in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Loving Vs. Virginia Supreme Court Decision making interracial marriage legal in all 50 states. In the dance piece, my husband and I walked a circle, holding hands in front of the audience. I invited actors to yell out typical racial insults at us as we walked. Every time an insult landed on my ears, body, and heart, I reacted. For example, I heard, Stick to your own kind! I stumbled, fell, rolled, and twisted. My husband picked me up and helped continue on our journey, every time.
It was an important beginning for the creative process as a whole, and an important step for me personally. My husband won’t dance the role next season, but it was important to debut it in the most authentic, real way possible. And, as ever, I needed his support.
The other opportunity I have to perform is with BodyWise Dance, directed by Margot Greenlee. The two shows I’ll perform in are a second season of Woman with Sword and premier of a new show called Dogs.
With these live performances on the calendar, I am aware of my privilege and my purpose: I am built to dance. Knowing this, I work from abundance and I live in gratitude as I witness the daily transformation I see in myself and in my clients.
What is the work you are meant to do? Are you doing it? How do you move with it? Tell me about it. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org